A Look Inside the Outside
The Center for Jewish History, a New York City-based repository for Jewish cultural and historical artifacts, finds success using graphics on its envelopes. The center incorporates copy and images of some of the historical documents it houses — old posters from the Yiddish theater, for example — on the outer envelope for its membership mailing. Highlighting these images in its direct mail makes sense for the organization, says Tamar Copeland, director of the center’s annual campaign.
“The center is a facility that houses millions of archival documents, many of which have great visual impact and whose purpose in history was to have a visual impact. So it seems very appropriate that we represent that visually for our donors,” Copeland says.
With openability the biggest hurdle in direct mail, graphics can differentiate an organization’s envelope in the ever-increasing mail pile, communicate a mission and resonate more strongly with recipients, and drive more prospects inside.
Kinch reminds nonprofits interested in creating graphic-heavy mailings that the donor base they’re targeting is older.
“We’re not our donors’ ages yet,” she says. “What looks old or tired to us is probably nostalgic for them.”
Bells and whistles
There’s no doubt live stamps on an envelope add a personal touch. According to Kinch, about three-quarters of the time in testing, live stamps beat meters and indicias, which are in fact faster. For Sierra Club, her firm came up with a tactic that merges the two.
“What we’ve done a couple times is to use the indicia or the meter, but then … affix these beautiful faux stamps that may be tied to the organization’s mission … and that raised response rates,” she says.
Similarly, Lester says she’s seen organizations using personalized meter strips, the city name replaced by the organization’s name.
Another strategy that Crystal Uppercue, marketing manager for Rockville, Md.-based full-service printing and mailing company EU Services, sees is the use of multiple stamps that add up to full postage.